Interview with Dave Noodlez
The day I met JP was just over a year ago. We were both helping young people put together their final event of the year 'The Future Concert'. JP was one of the performers of the night while I helped with photography. He had this really positive vibe that traveled with everywhere. His music was uplifting and really set a great mood for the rest of the night. He told me he was working on some music and really wanted to put out an album. I told him to let me know when it released and I would love to hear it. Well 1 year has passed and what do you know? He was a man of his word and truly delivered with 'Guavamatic Space Dream'. Stereotype Co linked with JP to get a in depth look into the album, his dreams, experiences and more.
Why did you make this album ?
I made this album because the times call for it. How can I be an artist and not reflect the times? I made it because there's a call on my life to speak Life, speak what I see - to speak of the fire next time, as well as the light behind the clouds.
In 2014 after the non-indictments of officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner there were protests rising up all over the country. Here in NYC I was one of the thousands of other citizens who stopped traffic, fed up with what has finally started coming to the light. Then some friends and I from my hometown, Mt. Vernon, NY decided to host a demonstration. After that protest I knew I had to make a decision. I had to focus on just how I would contribute to this movement. And since music and art is such a deep passion of mine, I decided to contribute music that would reveal love and depth and truth and light and joy. I made this album because we needed it - because I needed it.
What inspired you to create Guavamatic Space Dream?
We had a lot of setbacks during the production of this music. From distorted files to equipment failure to scheduling conflicts and more, there were a lot of obstacles to get here. Indie life, right? During one of those stretches of time when production was halted due to setbacks, I actually wrote out an entire screenplay and score for an album-inspired short film. It's ill. Still trying to do that. The budget just wasn't there at the time.
But that process of writing an entire short film revealed to me the whole story of the Guavamatic Space Dream. So when I got together with ZILLA, my ace boon and my pARTner in shine, we discussed the visual elements of the music and we decided that we had to do something different. He was the first person to hear the album in its order and in its entirety. We, like, share a brain so he understood exactly what I was trying to execute with the album cover and promo videos just from hearing the music.
Remember when Jadakiss had the Top 5 Dead of Alive and they created an actual sculpture for his album cover and he carried it around to interviews and stuff? ZILLA figured we should do something similar. He had this idea to create an artifact. Something that could be carried around and have its own life and its own story. And that's where the idea of this aged looking booklet came from. We created an actual relic that contains "ancient" information and imagined this whole story (based on my short film stuff) for how it got into my hands. And we wanted to capture that story in the trailers.
What is your goal as a hip hop artist and artist in general?
My goal is to inspire people. I want my art to move people. I want it to spark minds and open hearts. I want it to make people dance and be free. I want it to make people nod their heads and feel the heartbeat of those no longer with us. I want to reveal truth. I want to speak Life.
When did you know you wanted to make music?
It first came when The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill dropped and my aunt wouldn't let me listen because there were some curse words on there, but I was like nah, I'm gonna sneak this cassette tape in the basement because she's doing something so special that I want to do too. But then I knew I wanted to make music for real when I was in high school and I had the opportunity to start recording music.
My homie Hayling (of Columbia Nights) had a studio in his crib. There was this adjoining room he had right next to his bedroom and his Pops let him set up a studio in there. Pro Tools and all that. Those Saturdays when I would go kick it with him were some of my favorite days in high school. I used to look forward to those sessions OD. Every time I heard the records we made I wanted to do more. Those joints were definitely not good. But you couldn't tell me nothing circa '03-'04. I remember so distinctly having the thought that I wouldn't be able to keep doing this because I wasn't supposed to be a rapper. I was supposed to go to college, and be a preacher or a lawyer or something like that. But even after going to college I just couldn't leave this rap thing alone yo. By the time I entered grad school I knew I was going to be doing this for the long haul. And here we are.
How did you come up with the title for the album? What inspired that?
After my Kickstarter campaign successfully ended, one of my beloved communities, Elm City Vineyard Church in New Haven, CT, hosted me for a celebration performance and talkback session. Now, "guava" is obviously one of my favorite words. It sounds cool. It feels good to say. And I think it's just a dope word. It's also a backronym for Groups Undercounted Arise Very Adept I randomly asked people for dope variations on "guava." Guavamatic was one of those answers. I was like, 'huh, now that could work lol.' A woman named LaQruishia shouted it out and it definitely stuck in my head as something incredibly guavalicious. And then there's the whole connection to Nas' illmatic...guavamatic...levels B.
I wanted the music vibe on the album to feel spacey, like a dream. I feel like a lot of the lyrics were translated to me from the Divine in dream space so it only seemed right.
Who helped make this album possible? Writers, Producers, Muses, Support System, Etc
Bruh, the Peace and Power Family is mad guava'd out and flexxy like right now! 194 Kickstarter Backers. We raised $10,000 to make this happen, man. I'm too grateful for those folks who believed with their dollar bills.
About a month after the campaign ended I hit up Rod the Producer, a dope musician, producer, engineer from my hometown. On one hand, he's SUPER guavalicious. Like, dude is a genius. And I promise I don't use that word lightly. On the other hand, we were supposed to have worked together a couple years prior and I just felt like the time was right. His name just dropped on my heart one day. It was a Friday. I was at my barber shop and Al B. Sure! who was in town just happened to be up in there. My barber has cut the hair of like ALL the legends from my city so this wasn't exactly random. Al was dropping gems on the folks in there about following our purpose, and never knowing how our purpose could actually save lives. He had me all guava juiced up so after he dipped, I was like I need to hit up Roddy tonight! I hit him on the text like, Yo, where you at? I'm coming through." I pulled up to the studio, chopped it up with him, shared my vision for the project, and the rest is history as they say.
The rest of the production team is also super dope. I got a story for each of these folks, but maybe that's another interview. It's a heavy squad, man. Ibe Soliman, Hayling (who I mentioned before), Chucky Kim, Jarren "Xtra Medium" Simmons, and Sevy. My guest artists were Franceska Marie, Isaiah J. Tate, Alia "Li" Pierre, James Gardin, Antoine Dolberry, Destiny Davis-Tolbert, Tina Colon, Lillian F. Reynolds (my mama!) and Melay. My videographers and visual artists were Malcolm Douglas Brown and ZILLA. My general advisors were Rodney J. Reynolds (Pops!), R. Joshua Reynolds (my brother!), Arty McFly, Sarah Zapiler, Ashley Mui, Syreeta Gates, Hakim Pitts, Veracity Savant, Thomas Alston, and Isaiah DeLeon-Mares - may he rest in Peace and Power.
What is your dream now that you just accomplished this dream.
I still want to do the short film I mentioned earlier. Also, I want to continue establishing Peace and Power Media as an artistic hub that produces music, visual content, and written text. If you build it, they will come. And I'm building it. On some Nas, "start a label, run it, sign yourself." That's a major dream. I want to go on tour. Do pop-up shows all over. A Peace and Power Music Festival. I want it all man, lol.
What is your favorite track? Why?
Aww man, the answer to this question changes every day. Today, it's "Ready [Aim] Fire."
"Ready [Aim] Fire" because of how resilient it is. WIld story here. First, I had written a bulk of the lyrics a few years ago to a different beat. But the way Roddy and I ended up working was so organic and so connected that I HAD to move these words to the moment and music we were creating together. It has this 90s vibe to it. Pete Rock is one of Rod the Producer's mentors and we ALMOST got him on the track for the intro. The legend was in the studio, in the booth, ready to lay down vocals, Roddy pulled up the track....and all the files were distorted. Hence, Pete Rock vocals. After trying to find the distorted files and fix them through technology, we ended up just recording the track again. It ended up being the last song recorded for the project waaaaay after all the other tracks were recorded and mixed. Then we did a video for it. So it's definitely one of my favs.
Also, in the context of the album I feel like it's a turning point. It's track #3. And I feel like it's the point at which the listener really makes the commitment to experience the full Guavamatic Space Dream. That's what a few people have told me anyway. So I think its role as a threshold is also what makes it special to me.
Have you ever been Stereotype'd? Tell us more
Absolutely, I've been stereotyped. I'm a young black person living in the United States of America. Too many individual situations to even remember. But I'll tell of my first semester, freshman year at Yale when I was waiting at the campus shuttle stop for a friend who was visiting that weekend. A campus police officer approaches me, slowly, with his hand on his gun and cautiously asks: "Have you ever been to juvie before?" I replied, taken aback, "Nah, I live here. I'm waiting for my friend." Still not calm, he replied: "Oh, okay. You fit the description of someone we're looking for." And then, he walked away.
Have you ever broken a Stereotype someone had of you? Tell us about it.
Yes. When I first arrived a my prep school for 8th grade one of my classmates came up to me and asked if I was the new kid who came to play basketball. I told him I was the new kid there to go to school. And I dedicated my time there to doing everything and anything possible I could to never be put in a box. That was a really transitional moment for me, man.
Can you share some advice for someone trying to chase the Guavamatic Dream?
Don't stop. Listen to history. Look toward the future. Live in the moment. Let God do God's thing.
What would be your Guavamatic Dream collaboration for a song?
2016 3 Stacks. 1998 L Boogie. 1983 Purple One. 2040 My Own Child.